News JVTech SpaceX: Elon Musk’s bad news about Starlink satellites…
Published on 03/24/2023 at 19:15
SpaceX, the aerospace company run by Elon Musk, recently placed a new generation of Starlink satellites into orbit. But this new version encounters design problems that could require the destruction of certain units.
Starlink satellites are intended to provide high-speed Internet coverage globally, especially in rural and remote areas where Internet access is limited or non-existent. SpaceX, which is the parent company of the Starlink initiative, is constantly working to improve the satellites of the program: the Starlink V2 Mini are the latest models to date. Some have already been deployed in low Earth orbit, but it turns out that not everything goes as one might imagine.
“We are having some problems, as expected”
On March 22, Elon Musk, boss of SpaceX, communicated on Twitter on the Starlink V2 Mini. And the news is not optimal. “There are a lot of new technologies in the Starlink V2, so we are encountering some problems, as expected,” explains the businessman. “Some satellites will be de-orbited, others will be thoroughly tested before ascending above the Space Station. »
Lot of new technology in Starlink V2, so we’re experiencing some issues, as expected.
Some sats will be deorbited, others will be tested thoroughly before raising altitude above Space Station.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 22, 2023
This message from Elon Musk is a response to observations made by astronomers who followed the evolution of Starlink V2 Mini in the sky. Some satellites dropped their altitude for no apparent reason, while others were in a more eccentric orbit than others. Different findings enough to worry.
The V2 Mini sats seem to be collectively lowering their altitude. @planet4589 is this to be expected? Trajectory is certainly uncommon when looking at other Starlink launches. pic.twitter.com/O4iwWFyyHb
— Starlink Insider (@starlinkinsider) March 16, 2023
Predictable problems according to Elon Musk, but…
Selon Elon Musk, the difficulties encountered with the Starlink V2 Mini were to be expected : these new satellites are larger than the previous model and the on-board technologies are more ambitious. With more powerful antennas, capable of covering high-speed frequencies, these new generation satellites aim to improve the performance offered by Starlink. They are nevertheless smaller than the Starlink V2, which is the next generation already planned: the V2 Mini has, in a way, the mission of “filling the gap” between the first generation satellite and the V2 being prepared. Elon Musk does not want to fall behind on the deployment of Starlink, which already has more than 4,000 satellites in orbit. But to launch Starlink V2, SpaceX must wait for its next rocket, Starchip, to be operational. And that is not yet the case.
However, many observers criticize the strategy adopted by SpaceX. If the company was aware of the risks associated with Starlink V2 Mini, was it appropriate to send 21 of these satellites into space on February 27? At a time when astronomers, but also space agencies, are sounding the alarm about the space congestion generated by satellites of this type, adding devices to the equation that will turn into space junk isn’t really a very good idea.
A new launch planned by SpaceX
According to the SpaceNews website, SpaceX plans to perform another Starlink V2 Mini satellite launch on March 30, but with the company’s problems with those already in orbit, it’s uncertain whether it will go all the way. SpaceX will probably communicate on its intentions in the coming days, but it can be noted that, in the immediate future, Elon Musk’s tweet is the only concrete message that has been posted about the Starlink V2 Mini worries.
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